Starting a letter of recommendation in the right way is key to establishing the credibility of your recommendation. A good introduction immediately casts the candidate in a positive light.
Your letter of recommendation introduction should do two things:
You need to take a few steps before your start writing the letter of recommendation:
1. Get details on what the individual is applying for
Ask the person for whom you are writing the recommendation to provide you with a copy of the job description, job posting, academic program, internship, leadership program or any other program for which the individual is applying.
2. Ask the applicant what to focus on in your letter of recommendation
Discuss with the applicant which details they would like you to highlight in your letter.
3. Ask the applicant for a copy of their resume
Read through the individual's resume to get a full picture of their credentials for the position or program they are applying for.
Start with an appropriate salutation such as Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms. Address the recipient by their name. If you do not know their name it is acceptable to use the generic "To Whom it may Concern"
The first paragraph of your letter of recommendation consists of:
Letter of recommendation for an academic program
Dear Mrs Green
My name is Dr. Andrew Bell and I am a professor of (subject)in the department of (name of department) at (name of school). It has been my pleasure to teach Chris Jones for the last four years and to act as supervisor for his excellent thesis (Title of thesis). Chris's strong intellect and determination to achieve outstanding results make him an exemplary student and I can unequivocally recommend him for admission to the (name of academic program).
Letter of recommendation for an internship
Dear Mr Hall
My name is Dr. John Jackson and I have known Jane for three years as both a student in my (subject) class and as a teaching assistant for the last year. Jane's drive and passion for learning have led to outstanding academic achievements and I can enthusiastically and with full confidence recommend Jane for the internship at (name of organization)
Letter of recommendation for a teacher
Dear Ms Lang
My name is Glenda Grey, head of (subject) department at (name of school) and I have worked closely with Barry in his position as (grade/subject) teacher for over 5 years. Barry's enthusiasm and energy together with his outstanding teaching skills make him a highly valued member of my department and I can fully and confidently recommend Barry Jones for your (type of teaching position) at (name of school).
Letter of recommendation for student teacher
To Whom It May Concern
Jenny Carr very successfully completed her 16 week teaching practicum in my (subject/grade) class at (name of school). Jenny's positive and conscientious approach to all her responsibilities made her a joy to work with and I can highly recommend her for a teaching position.
Letter of recommendation for leadership program
Dear Mrs Green
My name is Frank Jones, Chair of (Name) Student Society and it is with enthusiasm and full confidence that I recommend Ann Black for the (Name) leadership program. Ann has been a key member of our society for the last 3 years during which time I have had many opportunities to observe her outstanding leadership qualities.
Letter of recommendation for employment
Dear Mr Brown
My name is Carrie Adams, I am the regional manager at (Name) Company and Mike Smith's direct supervisor for the last three years. Mike's outstanding work ethic, professionalism and high level of productivity make him a highly valued member of our team who I can fully recommend for the (job title) position at your company.
Follow these steps to write a letter of recommendation that makes the right impact.
How you end your letter of recommendation is as important as starting a letter of recommendation.
Closing a letter of recommendation - tips and samples
Good adjectives to use in your opening paragraph include: